No second chance to failed class 9,11 ISCE Board students: SC

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The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday refused to allow a second chance to failed students of Grades 9 and 11, whose schools are affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), to appear for examinations in a bid to improve their scores and get promoted to the next class.

A failed Grade 11 student, whose school is affiliated to the CISCE, had moved the apex court citing a similar relief provided by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) because of the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The student’s petition had prayed for an exception to the rule before the court, while citing the CBSE’s notification dated May 13.

The CBSE as a “one-time measure” had extended its relief to both Grade 9 and 11 students this academic year owing to the contagion.

The three-judge SC bench, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, dismissed the petition after the CISCE authorities submitted that granting the prayer would open a floodgate of similar requests by other failed students of Grades 9 and 11.

The CISCE pointed out that around 10,000 such students from across 2,500 schools would seek to avail of the relief.

The CISCE’s counsel, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, argued that 90% of the syllabi of Grades 10 and 12 were covered by schools and any relief at this stage would hamper the academic year of the successful candidates.

“We do not provide retest as a policy decision,” the CISCE argued.

The bench, which also comprised Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, observed, “We can’t direct the board (CISCE) and create a situation, where lakhs of students seek a retest to improve their marks. How many such students will be there? It will lead to a chaotic situation.”

Alakh Alok Srivastava, the petitioner’s lawyer, urged the SC to take a compassionate view and urged the latter to direct the CISCE to take a leaf out of the CBSE’s May 13 order.

Srivastava pleaded that the petitioner would be able to cope up with his studies as both the CISCE and the CBSE authorities have decided to reduce their syllabi by 30% in all subjects and a move was in the works to further lessen them by 50% because of the raging viral outbreak.

“It is not open for this court to issue any writ or direction to the CISCE to follow a decision by another board (CBSE),” the bench observed.

The bench heard the submissions from both the parties and agreed with the CISCE’s contention while dismissing the petition of the unsuccessful Grade 9 candidate.

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